For the first time in the history of Indian Fashion, Lakme Fashion Week will be launching a new face of empowerment – Anjali Lama – the first transgender model who has not only marked this day as a historic moment but also revolutionised the idea of beauty in this country. Born as Navin Waiba to a farming family in Nuwakot, Nepal, Anjali questioned her own choices as a child when left stranded in between living like a boy or a girl. The journey between Navin and Anjali was not a path of roses but here she is walking for the fashion week in all her glory and grace, and before you catch a glimpse of her on the runway, here’s an exclusive chat with the star model.
BlabberCat in conversation with Model Anjali Lama, for Lakmé Fashion Week S/R’17
Did you ever face self-esteem issues or deep down did you always know you are beautiful?
I had a very tough journey which included rejections along my career. I faced a lot of difficulties both economically and emotionally but never gave up on my dream. The most disturbing thing to hear was the reason for my continuous rejections which was being a ‘transgender’. It had come to a point where my successive failures made my well-wishers suggest that I choose an alternate career path. This was when I am grateful for my grit and determination which took this negative energy as a challenge to debunk this myth create my own path forward. This determination to succeed is the sole reason I am here today walking the prestigious runway of Lakmé Fashion Week. I credit my inner strength and the support of some people who made me feel beautiful throughout this struggle.
Do you think the idea of beauty is changing?
Indeed. It was so monotonous and rigid as an industry till a few years ago. However, now we see models like Winnie Harlow who were able to be able to rock the runway even though they had vitiligo, but never shied away from being fearless in chasing their dreams. With the diversity quotient in modelling increasing day day, and with platforms such as ANTM and Asia’s Next Top Model, diverse and unique faces were brought into the mainstream some renowned fashion leaders. A few months ago, an acid attack victim walked and that was a first for the international runway. It feels great to know that now one need not be necessarily beautiful for modeling. Just being different and believing in yourself is important.
What was the turning point of your life?
This is the biggest turning point – walking in the most sought after fashion platform Lakmé Fashion Week.
Is it your love for fashion that brought you to Lakme or what was it?
Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) is not a cakewalk. This has come to me after two strong denials in both seasons of 2016. My first assignment was of the photoshoot for the cover page of a magazine. This assignment was easy and exciting, it somehow got etched in my mind and from then I chased it.
In 2007 when it became legal to choose your own gender, how did the lives of the transgender change?
People are becoming far more broad minded and receptive every passing day. Witnessing this inclusivity is an amazing experience and it truly made a great change in our community.
Do you think we as a society have succeeded in empowering the transgender or is it still a long way to go?
We have come a long way however we still have miles to go.
Do you see yourself in the fashion industry post the fashion week or do you have another dream?
I dream to win a renowned brand campaign while continuing to walk the runway, as that is my first love. It would be a dream come true to be invited to walk on international platforms too, as I believe I could be a great ambassador for the changing face of beauty, especially given my roots in South Asia.